Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

Update 2017:  The works on the Via dell’Amore are at a complete standstill.  The local city  hall is waiting on national public funds to be released to pay for the extensive repair costs.  It sounds like it could be a very, very long wait.  *sigh*

The Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ Lane) connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola and is the most famous portion of the Sentiero Azzurro (the path along the coast that connects all five villages of the Cinque Terre).  The Via dell’Amore has become a world-famous landmark in its own right, and is especially popular with visitors to the area (as it’s an easy 20 minute stroll along the waterfront rather than a vigorous hike like the remainder of the Sentiero Azzurro).  For locals, it has played an integral role in unifying the two villages and their residents.

A wedding party traveling from Riomaggiore to Manarola on the Via dell'Amore.   photo credit: M. Ravecca, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

A wedding party traveling from Riomaggiore to Manarola on the Via dell’Amore.
photo credit: M. Ravecca, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Since its creation in the early 1900s, the Via dell’Amore has faced numerous periods of closure due to rock slides. Eventually, a tunnel was constructed for a portion of the path that was particularly prone to slides and steel netting was pinned to the mountainside in other areas at risk.  Obviously, the unique geography of this land with its steeps cliffs and rocky terrain makes for a constant struggle to keep slides at bay despite safety measures.  In September of 2012 an extensive slide closed the Via dell’Amore until present day.

The Via dell'Amore in the 60s/70s, before safety measures were instated. photo credit:  Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

The Via dell’Amore in the 60s/70s, before safety measures were instated.
photo credit: Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Regarding the Via dell’Amore’s most recent closure, here are the facts:

  • September 24, 2012:  A rockslide on the Via dell’Amore injures four Australian tourists, two of which are hospitalized.
photo credit: Pistelli

photo credit: Pistelli

  • From that moment, the Via dell’Amore is officially closed by local ordinance and is sequestered by the Italian Procura (prosecutor’s office) while the slide and its cause are under investigation.
  • February 25, 2013:  The Italian Procura releases the Via dell’Amore back to the Comune di Riomaggiore, under explicit directions that the path is not to be reopened to the public until it is messa in sicurezza (deemed safe).
  • March 14, 2013:  The Regione Liguria proffers €800,000 euro to help with costs for the messa in sicurezza of the Via dell’Amore.  These funds were originally earmarked for a different project in our territory.
  • April 18, 2013:  Riomaggiore’s mayor as well as numerous experts in geological hazards perform their first official inspection of the Via dell’Amore.
  • April 22, 2013:  After the inspection, the Comune di Riomaggiore proposes that an extensive study be conducted by geologists and other professionals in the sector, detailing the current state of the path (and the terrain both above and below it) and what operations will be required in order to make the Via dell’Amore safe.  This is the beginning of a long and arduous process (and paper trail).
  • September 26, 2014:  An accord is signed between the Comune di Riomaggiore, Regione Liguria and the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (the Italian railway) to authorize work on the portion of the Via dell’Amore directly above the Manarola railway station.
  • January 13, 2015:  Work on the portion of the Via dell’Amore above the railway station in Manarola begins.  Works for this phase will extend from the railway station in Manarola to the Bar Via dell’Amore (circa 200 meters).

UPDATE:

  • April 3, 2015:  Inauguration for the reopening of the first 200 meters of the Via dell’Amore (from the Manarola railway station to the Bar Via dell’Amore).
  • April 3, 2015:  The Regione di Liguria issues a press release pledging 1.5 million euro towards the Via dell’Amore project and promises another portion of the path will reopen before the end of 2015.
photo credit:  Comune di Riomaggiore

photo credit: Comune di Riomaggiore

Due to miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape and the slow motion grindings of Italy, the future of the Via dell’Amore at the moment looks grim.  The best case scenario for 2015 is that the portion of the Via dell’Amore between the Manarola railway station and the Bar Via dell’Amore will reopen.  As this is just one portion of the path (experts have divided the work into a total of seven sections based on geological surveys), you can probably imagine just how long the works on the Via dell’Amore will take to conclude.

photo credit: G. Pecunia, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

photo credit: G. Pecunia, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

For locals, the Via dell’Amore is more than just a touristic attraction; it’s the lifeline between two medieval villages.  It’s a place for elderly residents to sit in the sun and reminisce with one another.  It’s a place for young families to take their little ones on their first walks.  The closure of the Via dell’Amore is much more than just an inconvenience to visitors to our area, it’s the denial of a legacy to locals.  As can be imagined, villagers are feeling very disheartened and upset.  It’s in everyone’s interest to reopen the historic path as soon as possible.  The question remains, will it happen?  

photo credit:  Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

photo credit: Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Want to know a little more about the history of the Via dell’Amore?  Check out this article published on the Smithsonian website, penned by Rick Steves.

Want to follow the progress of the Via dell’Amore on the official Comune di Riomaggiore website?  Brushing up on your Italian beforehand is recommended: Situazione Via Dell’Amore

Want to see my most recent post on the Via dell’Amore?  Click here.  

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42 thoughts on “What’s going on with the Via dell’Amore?

  1. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the information! Do you know if the lovers chair is still accessible from either Manarola or Riomaggiore?

    Like

    1. Ciao Danielle!

      Do you mean the bench with the silhouettes kissing? If so, it’s currently inaccessible as it’s in the tunnel which is a portion of the Via dell’Amore currently closes.

      Most sincerely,
      Amy

      Like

  2. Lindt says:

    Thank you for the update.

    Like

  3. Nevin says:

    I am visiting the Cinque Terre in two weeks’ time, and a link took me here when searching for the hiking option. So, I guess I won’t be able to hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola through the Lover’s Lane? Thank you.

    Like

    1. Ciao Nevin,

      No, you will not be able to walk the Via dell’Amore as it is still closed. You can, however, hike between Riomaggiore and Manarola on the alternate trail #531. This is a 1 hour (strenuous) hike. There’s a post about it here on the blog if you’d like more details.

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

      1. b says:

        Hey!

        Thank you for a great blog. I’ll be in Cinque Terre in August. Has any of the portions of Via dell’Amore (A-H) opened so far?

        b

        Like

      2. Ciao B!

        Only the “H” section is currently open and in my opinion it isn’t worth checking out (there’s a blog post about it here on the site).

        Best,
        Amy

        Like

  4. Sofiya says:

    Hello,

    I am staying in Levanto for two nights with one day to explore Cinque Terre in September. Please could you recommmend the best route to trek from Monterosso or Riomaggiore?
    I would like to allow enough time to have lunch and dinner in different towns.

    Thank you

    Like

    1. Ciao Sofiya,

      I would start hiking the coastal trail from Monterosso (since you’ll be staying in nearby Levanto). Depending on the time you get started you could either have lunch in Vernazza (2 hour hike from Monterosso) or Corniglia (another 1 1/2 hours hiking). Once you reach Corniglia you’ll need to take alternate routes as the final two portions of the coastal trail are closed. You can hike to Manarola via Volastra (circa 2 1/2 hours) and then you can hike the Beccara (trail #531) to Riomaggiore (1 hour, but it’s intense!). You could then dine in Riomaggiore.

      TIP: I do recommend reserving a table in advance for dinner.

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

      1. Sofiya says:

        Ciao Amy,

        Thank you very much for your advice, looks like I finally have a plan for next week!

        Much appreciated,

        Sofiya

        Liked by 1 person

  5. 1_Camilla says:

    Hello. Wondering if there will be guided tours during the last week of November, first 2 weeks of December 2016?

    Like

    1. Ciao Camilla!

      If you are referring to the guided hiking excursions/village tours offered by the Cinque Terre National Park, it’s unlikely. During the off-season they occasionally offer these excursions/tours only on weekends but they are cancelled if there’s bad weather (which during the winter can be a common occurrence).

      I recommend checking out their Facebook page (which they keep up-to-date) and potentially you can message them directly there. You’ll want to look up “Cinque Terre Walking Park.”

      I hope that helps!

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  6. Ken Keehan says:

    Ciao Amy,
    I have just re-booked my holiday to Cinque Terre for the fourth year and am staying in Riomaggiore. Disappointed to see the path won’t be open again this year but the whole area is spectacular anyway and I can recommend the hike to Manorala. Personally to avoid the legendary bureaucratic red tape I’m sure visitors wouldn’t mind spending an additional few Euro in both villages as a visitor tax if they were assured that the funds would be used to complete the job once and for all in a speedy fashion.

    Regards,

    Ken

    Like

    1. Ciao Ken!

      How exciting to have you back!

      I agree, the Via dell’Amore situation is VERY frustrating (probably even more to locals than to visitors).

      Our past mayor had paved the way for the Via dell’Amore works to be financed privately but the new mayor is strongly opposed to that and believes that she can get public funding. We all know how efficient Italy and its government are (insert eye roll) so I’m not so optimistic at the moment. I’ve always thought some sort of crowd funding could work? Donations in lieu of future tickets? With a proper campaign I think it could at least get the ball rolling…

      I’ll keep you posted on any forward movement here on the blog.

      Amy

      Like

  7. Valerie says:

    Ciao Amy,
    I will be traveling to Cinque Terre for a day trip in October 2017. Any updates on Via dell’Amore? I would love to do a short hike, but my inlaws are limited in their ability. Do you know of any easier hikes? If not for them, any insight of a shorter (yet beautiful) hike that my husband and I could do and then meet back up with them?

    Thanks in advance,
    valerie

    Like

    1. Ciao Valerie!

      I’m sorry to say there’s no way the Via dell’Amore will be open by October (here it’s all talk and no action, which is very frustrating!). You could stroll with your inlaws out to the point in Manarola (beautiful photo op!) and have a drink or something light to eat at Nessun Dorme.

      As for nearby hikes, you could hike from Corniglia to Manarola (via Volastra, this is a beautiful hike!) and meet them there. Or, for an easier option you could take the bus to Volastra (from Manarola) and then hike back down to the village.

      I hope this helps!

      Amy

      Like

      1. Valerie Luther says:

        Ciao again!
        In less than 40 days- I will be cinque terre for the day and am so excited. From limited research it appears the Ferry is the best way to travel and see the views. I am still very interested in hiking. Any trail closures, updates or advice on this? It will just be me & my husband & we are able bodied though we will not want to spend all of time hiking while visiting for the day.

        Like

      2. Ciao Valerie!

        The ferries are the most picturesque way (besides hiking) to travel between the villages. Just keep in mind that the ferry won’t stop in Corniglia (as it is off the sea).

        As you have just one day you won’t have a lot of time and will be trying to cram a lot in. I would recommend starting in Monterosso. Take the ferry to Vernazza and then hike Vernazza to Corniglia (which is a 1 1/2 hour hike). From Corniglia you can descend the stairs to the train station and grab the next train to Manarola. From there you can ferry to Riomaggiore and then back to your starting point in Monterosso.

        Otherwise, you could skip Corniglia and hike Monterosso to Vernazza (2 hours) and then ferry between the other villages (logistically, this is an easier option as you wouldn’t need to use the trains at all).

        You’ll need the hiking pass for both of those trails (€7.50 per person).

        Enjoy!
        Amy

        Like

  8. James M says:

    I am planning a day trip from Florence to visit Cinque Terre by train. Could you suggest an itinerary? Able bodied enough for any hike!
    Many thanks

    Like

    1. Ciao James!

      I think you’ll find that one day in the Cinque Terre is simply not enough! You’ll only be able to (very superficially) scratch the surface of our area in that timeframe. With that said, what time of year are you planning to visit?

      Amy

      Like

      1. Robbie says:

        Hi Amy,

        You’ve been so helpful already with your replies above. My parents are only in for the day in October, They’re around 65 and only in ok shape. I want them to see as much as possible. What would you recommend for approximately 8 hours of sightseeing?

        I’ve been using https://www.incinqueterre.com/en/cinque-terre-in-one-day as a guide so far. Thoughts? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

        Robbie

        Like

      2. Ciao Robbie!

        I had a look at the link you provided and to be quite honest I’m not overly impressed. The information isn’t exactly current (they are citing old trail numbers and train travel times which I wouldn’t consider to be accurate).

        My advice for your parents? Don’t try to cram all five villages in one day (8 hours) That would be allotting a little over 1 1/2 hours to each village and that’s not taking into consideration time spent traveling between the villages as well as stopping for lunch or to have a drink or whatnot. They’ll feel rushed and the overall experience will be less than stellar, in my opinion.

        Pick three villages for your parents to visit. The choice is yours (or theirs) but based on what you’ve told me (that they are only in ok shape) I’d recommend that they visit Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso (in that order). Rather than traveling between the villages by train I would recommend that they travel by ferry (which is much more scenic and memorable).

        If you’d like a personalized itinerary for your parents, email me at amy @cinqueterreinsider.com (take out the space between my name and @) and I’d be happy to put one together for you (due to popular request I’m going to be rolling out consultant and concierge services).

        I hope this info and the rest that you’ll find on the blog is of help!

        Take care,
        Amy

        Like

  9. mj says:

    Hi Amy! Do you think the via dell’Amore will be open in June 2018? My mom and I will be staying in Riomaggiore for 3 nights and was really looking forward to taking this trail since it would not only be gorgeous, but easiest for my mother. Just found out it was closed :((((

    Like

    1. Ciao MJ!

      Seeing that things are at a standstill with the Via dell’Amore project I find it highly unlikely… if not impossible… that the Via dell’Amore will be open in June of 2018.

      Most sincerely,
      Amy

      Like

      1. mj says:

        Thank you for responding! That is so unfortunate and saddening to hear! I just want to let you know that I have extremely enjoyed your posts! Especially the village spotlight ones! I only saw where you did 3 though, so I was curious if you planned on doing one for the other 2 towns? They have been so helpful, and I would love to see one for Riomaggiore since I am staying there! Thanks Amy!!

        Like

      2. Ciao MJ!

        I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the blog and finding it helpful! You’re right… the village spotlights for Riomaggiore and Vernazza have not yet been published. They will certainly be published before your arrival next year! 🙂

        Stay tuned,
        Amy

        Like

      3. mj says:

        Oh that makes my heart so happy to know that about the 2 other villages! I cannot wait to read them when they are finished! Also, I have been stressing about figuring out a way to get from Riomaggiore to Paris. I was wondering if I booked a flight out of Genoa for 0800, would I be able to get to Genoa via train by this flight time? Thank you!

        Like

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